1 January 2013 | missmonochrome
This "Night Creature" Is Tame As A Housecat
Writer/race car driver/pilot/big game hunter Axel MacGregor(Donald Pleasence) has been restoring temples in Thailand when a spate of local villages are plagued by a violent panther killing and attacking the residents.
Being given every multi hyphenate job title short of superhero, Axel sets off to hunt and kill the animal. Unfortunately, his legendary brass fails him and he ends up physically mauled and severely ego bruised.
Cut to the present, where he has survived the attack with a bad leg and a worse attitude. Axel hires a local team to capture the cat, and bring it back alive to his private island residence. Rather than any of 1,000,000 logical actions...he released the animal onto the island, and plans to stalk and kill it with a rifle loaded with 9 bullets (one for each of the supposed lives a cat has in popular idiom).Public safety is apparently totally less important than repairing the damage to his mythical reputation.
As it so happens, Axel's family decides to make a once in a half decade visit just then. Idle, spoiled daughter Georgia (Jennifer Rhodes), her independent half sister Leslie (a still sexy Nancy Kwan), Georgia's small child Peggy, and Georgia's boy toy of the moment Ross(producer Ross Hagen).
Billed as a horror movie, it's actually an extremely slow moving melodrama. The extremely well trained cat is always shot in slow motion, and there's only one actual attack in between long runs of meandering dialog.
Shrill Georgia ends up the cat's first island victim(due to an ill considered search for Peggy's pet dog), and poor Peggy ends up sitting out in the rain for what seems like 3 days while a weak Ross/Leslie love story is quickly sketched in, Axel's Ahab like obsession and post death of his daughter breakdown chew the scenery (and ample location shots) to pieces, and Ross attempts to save the day while looking to be more and more like Ross Hagen writing a Mary Sue stand in for himself that's far more accomplished than he ever actually was.
Nancy Kwan is giving nothing interesting to work with,Ross Hagen is a smarmy twit, Peggy as a character is nearly forgotten about, all of the native actors are little more than the help.
Donald Pleasence's fits of overacting are the only non narcolepsy inducing moments in an otherwise indifferent film with a an allegory as awful as the final visual transition serving as a dud of an ending.
Most all of the cast had long careers as working actors, and this film is pretty much the nadir for all of them, skip it and watch a National Geographic special instead. All of the gorgeous panther tracking and location shots, far less of the boredom.